All over the country, countless sports fans will be raising a glass and cheering Game On! If it weren’t for the hard-core football fans here at the office, I would have no clue that tonight is the official start of football season. At Dog is Good, we welcome diversity, so no verbal thrashing will be tolerated between those who cheer for the Dallas Cowboys (oh, did I really just write that?), San Diego Chargers, Denver Broncos, Seattle Seahawks, San Francisco 49ers, Chicago Bears, New York Giants, or my nephew’s favorite- New England Patriots. Given that my favorite color is purple, I will cheer for the Vikings. I confess…I had to Google which team wears purple, so now you know – I don’t follow football.
You may be wondering what dogs and football have in common. Three things come to mind:
both are the on the receiving end of rabid human love
both can suffer from activity related injuries to the knees, neck, and back
both “show up” prepared and ready to get their Game On
All year long, football players have been engaged in a solid training regimen. I’m sure the training is comprised of physical, nutritional, and mental elements for the player to show up in top condition to succeed. BOLO brings her A game to everything she does. From the time she wakes up until she goes to bed her Game is On. Sure, this could be due in part to the fact that she is a 2-year- old Labrador Retriever who never wants to miss out on something potentially exciting, but the bottom line is she shows up like a football player- ready for action.
This past holiday weekend, BOLO reminded me how much fun it can be when you show up ready to play your heart out. As we drove along the coastal highway, her focused stance and unwavering gaze out towards familiar territory, followed by her crazy tail wag, indicated how elated she was for the chance to play in the ocean waves. Once at the beach entrance, her leash came off and she raced with intent to the water’s edge. She looked back at me once and then out towards the ocean, waiting to zoom in on the spot where her favorite ball would drop just beyond the waves.
The weekend had brought huge waves to Southern Cal beaches and BOLO learned how to calculate her timing to jump over a crashing wave before swimming out to get her ball. She then delighted in a little body surfing to bring her back into shore. She was relentless, eagerly dropping her ball at my feet time and time again. Even when I thought she was tired, she just kept bringing her best game forward and played full out all afternoon. Given that I have embraced opportunity to find lessons in the daily life of my dogs, I noticed how much fun it was for BOLO to master the waves with athletic grace time and time again. Her all-out effort prompted a question: How do I show up? Do I bring my A game to what I do everyday? Could I rate myself like an elite football player, focused and ready to hit the field with one thing in mind…get to the Superbowl?
A little over a year ago, this was a tough question to answer. As far as jumping over waves in the ocean, I stopped short – too fearful of the unknown beneath the water. To draw an analogy to football I would have to honestly admit that- for the past year I would catch the ball after kick off, but stop at the 20 yard line. To be brutally honest I found it difficult to race down the field because I could not discern where the goal line was. It’s hard to play full out and bring your A game when you can’t see the goal line. Similarly, it’s impossible to swim out to retrieve a ball in the ocean if fear paralyzes you on the shoreline.
To bring your best game, you have to know what the goal looks like, see it clearly, and use fear as the motivator to push you forward. Once you have clarity on that goal, you can begin to work backwards to put together a “training regimen” to master skills and conquer obstacles that get in your way (like a 300 pound linebacker or a 10 foot wave). So, what is your goal? Is it a career change, start a business, lose weight, go back to school, move to a new home? Where is the goal line? Once you have clarity on that goal line, you can begin to work backwards and start your “training” to get there.
Playing below the 50 yard line or letting fear prevent me from experiencing beach time fun with BOLO is not how I want to play. I like to win, so over the past year, I have put myself through some serious training. People ask me all the time what I do for my physical workouts but no one asks me about my mental or spiritual workouts. To play your best game, you have to be in top condition in all three areas. They serve as the foundation and need to be in alignment for peak performance. Physical stuff is easy for me. I get a charge out of a physical challenge and press myself daily to maximize my strength and endurance. Mindset training sets my attitude. Before anything else happens, time is devoted to reading or listening to podcasts. This ritual sets the tone for my mood throughout the day. Everyone has their own definition of spiritual. For me, I gain insight from spending quiet time with my dogs. This can be moments curled up with them sitting at my feet or out on a relaxing walk. Time with them calms my brain and I find inspiration in who they are as creatures.
I have fully embraced the obvious fact that life lasts longer than summer days spent at the ocean or another season of big men running around in tight pants holding onto a football. It’s time right now to fully inflate your football, charge forward, show up game day enthused and prepare to play full out! JUST BRING IT!
Decide now…what’s your game? (goal)
What’s the gameplan look like? (short term and long term milestones to hit the goal line)
What’s your training regimen ( what are you going to do to gain peak performance in the physical, mental, and spiritual areas of your life)